Simple ways to give advice in english

The "might be able to" is a bit more formal -- perhaps because it implies more hesitation on the part of the asker if this is an appropriate time và place và topic for the question. The "if you could" might be read to imply that you doubt the ability of the person being questioned to help you.


I don"t think "might be able to" is very good style, personally. Further, "might be able to" just means "could". There is some difference between would and could, i.e., between "I was wondering if you would give sầu me some advice" & "I was wondering if you could give me some advice". In most situations, I would use would, as usually the person you"re asking is capable of giving you advice.

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They are both OK. I"m guessing that someone who says "might" is not OK is from the US."Might" used in this way is much more common in the UK than the US.


Yes, the first statement is a "natural" construction. And yes you can use the second statement instead. It wouldn"t impact your formality in a big way, & it"s not impolite, though all things being equal I guess you could say it"s slightly less formal or polite because it contains slightly less polite hedging.

Asking "could you" in this context is not about ability, & "would you" is no better in a literal sense because it implies a hypothetical situation, which this is not. In the same way, the speaker"s point is not really about his own "wondering." These are all ways lớn couch a request politely, & often the bigger the couch, the more polite the request.

Literal responses to these kinds of requests might look lượt thích this:

A: I was wondering if you know what time it is.B: Oh. That"s interesting... do you spover a lot of time wondering what I know?

A: Could you help me with this broken pipe?B: Yes, I could.

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A: Would you help me with this broken pipe?B: If what?

We can build a progression of requests or questions that illustrates the effect of polite couching. As the expressions get longer, the actual thing being asked for gets buried deeper, becomes more indirect, and is placed further away in time and possibility from the speakers:

What time is it?Do you know what time it is?Would you happen to lớn know what time it is?I was wondering if you happened khổng lồ know what time it is?I"m terribly sorry to lớn bother you, but I was wondering if it would be at all possible for you to tell me what time it is.

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Splitting hairs about the relative politeness of the original two statements in the post"s question is not going lớn bear a lot of fruit, because they"re so cthảm bại that how well your shirt is ironed and hair is combed (not to lớn mention your intonation and body language) will have sầu a greater impact on formality than your choice between the two constructions.

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